IWW Newswire: 2016-4

IWW - Wed, 04/27/2016 - 16:01

Compiled by x344543 - April 27, 2016

The following news items are culled from various other IWW (and other) internet news portals:

May Day: The Soap Box: Other:

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Categories: Unions

Wobbles 2016-5

IWW - Wed, 04/27/2016 - 15:29

Compiled by x344543 - April 27, 2016

The following news items may be of interest to revolutionary industrial workers:

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Categories: Unions

April 23 2016 Fleet Memo

IBU - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 10:04
Categories: Unions

Passenger Industry History

IBU - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 15:05
Puget Sound Ferry History with Historian Alan Stein from Voice of Vashon on

April 16 2016 Fleet Memo

IBU - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 08:44
Categories: Unions

April 9 2016 Fleet Memo

IBU - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 08:44
Categories: Unions

March 26 2016 Fleet Memo

IBU - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 08:43
Categories: Unions

March 19 2016 Fleet Memo

IBU - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 08:42
Categories: Unions

The 4th Precinct: a black anarchist’s perspective on struggle in Minneapolis’ Northside streets

IWW - Mon, 04/04/2016 - 16:28

By Ikemba Kuti - First of May Anarchist Alliance, March 25, 2016

On November 15th, 2015, police executed Jamar Clark in North Minneapolis, MN. Several witnesses claim that Mr. Clark was handcuffed and on the ground when he was shot in the head. Following the execution, an occupation of the 4th precinct police station took place on Plymouth Avenue.

The call for the encampment and occupation came from Black Lives Matter – Minneapolis. BLM-MPLS, is a part of the nation-wide organization of chapters that is backed by the Democratic Party of the same system that ensures black and brown communities are hyper- policed. BLM-St. Paul is not a part of the nation-wide organization, and has even been condemned for making Black Lives Matter as a whole “look bad” for simply chanting “Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon…” while they are not a chartered chapter.

BLM-MPLS’ call for the encampment resulted in BLM organizers heading the movement with little to no democratic process until later in the struggle. The encampment also generated tensions arising from different agendas, ideologies, levels of anger, and an array of different tactics that different organizations and members of the community aimed to use.

The nationally connected Black Lives Matter-Minneapolis did, and does, great work at getting people to come out. Unfortunately, they also do great work channeling that revolutionary energy into their dogmatic nonviolent reformism due to an undeniable affiliation with the Democratic Party (the system), which must be noted by those interested in liberation of the people, and which is quickly revealed through research on those who are heading #CampaignZero (Black Lives Matter flow chart to attain a world with limited police terror).

Take note of campaign zero’s four person “planning team” these are important facts: “In 2014, Brittany helped bring community voice to the Ferguson Commission and President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing as an appointee to each. She’s been named one of TIME Magazine’s 12 New Faces of Black Leadership”1. This individual works directly for the president.

The remaining three are also heavily connected to non-profits such as Teach for America (TFA), which is also historically connected to maintaining the system. For example: TFA was recently given a grant to continue to project their brand through the media. Furthermore, another member of this four-person team was the other recipient; she is the director of St Louis TFA. TFA is, effectively, the leading edge of the neoliberal attempts to gut city schools and further hinder education equity, which in turn systemically hinders black and brown kids educational achievement under the guise of helping those kids.

As an anarchist, of African descent, I argue that we need revolutionary struggle controlled by the grassroots and not by top-down leaders. It was the domination of top-down leadership from BLM-Minneapolis, and their seemingly unconscious commitment to the system, that effectively steered Northside community militants away from 1) the encampment, 2) becoming further politicized, and 3) in playing any role in the organizing of their own communities self-determination. Their voices were effectively hushed; just as the system we function under has done for centuries to oppressed people of color.

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Categories: Unions

The Strike is On! Texas Prisoners Strike for Human Rights, End to Prison Slavery

IWW - Mon, 04/04/2016 - 16:17

UPDATE 1: Robertson Center is currently locked down due to the strike, despite denial by the TDCJ of such retaliatory actions. ‪#EyesOnTexas‬
UPDATE 2: We have recently received news from someone incarcerated in TX that the TDCJ is threatening prisoners with a 20 day lockdown of the entire prison system statewide in an effort discourage the strike. 'If you don't work for free we'll put you on lockdown'. #EyesOnTexas

CONTACT: Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), an affiliate of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), 816-866-3808, iwoc@riseup.net

Houston, TX. In a historic action, members of the Industrial Workers of the World’s Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) inside Texas prisons announced rolling prison strikes beginning this morning. As of 9:30 AM we have confirmed that Robertson Unit is on lockdown. Roach and Polunsky Units were on lockdown but have been released now.

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Categories: Unions

IWW Newswire: 2016-3

IWW - Tue, 03/29/2016 - 19:17

Compiled by x344543 - March 29, 2016

The following news items are culled from various other IWW (and other) internet news portals:

Lead: Other:

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Categories: Unions

Recycling is important – and recycling workers deserve better conditions

ILWU - Tue, 03/29/2016 - 12:09

Working together: Relations between workers and ACI management have improved dramatically since recycling workers organized and took action with support from community leaders. (L-R) ACI supervisor Brenda Perez, ACI recycler Jose Degadillo, ACI general manager Chris Valbusa and ACI recycling worker Pedro Sanchez.

Americans are beginning to dump our throw-away economy. Curbside recycling is now available in most west coast communities and more than 9,000 cities across America. It’s helping to divert one-third of our waste that used to be burned or buried.

Recycling is also good because it conserves raw materials and saves money for local governments. And it reduces greenhouse gases that cause global climate change.

But recycling won’t succeed if recycling workers don’t have decent pay, good benefits and safe working conditions. Most full-time recycling workers are forced to live in poverty – and their “green jobs” are far too dangerous. Recycling workers are being killed and seriously injured every year.

On March 1, a 42-year old worker was killed at a Waste Management’s recycling plant in Philadelphia. He was crushed to death by a one-ton bale of paper.

Ironically – on same day – a Bay Area recycling firm was being honored by workers and community leaders for “dramatically improving working conditions” at a company which recently signed an ILWU Local 6 contract.  During an interfaith luncheon, the Sierra Club’s Ruth Abbe presented a plaque to Chris Valbusa, general manager of Alameda County Industries (ACI), recognizing the company’s effort to cooperate with workers and create safer jobs with good pay, benefits and the right to fair treatment.

ACI and Waste Management are both private companies. And like most large recycling firms, their workers are paid with public funds – from residents and ratepayers – through contracts awarded by local governments.

When we drop a newspaper, bottle, or food waste in our recycling bin, it’s good to know that it will be recycled – but most of us don’t know anything about the workers performing these dirty and dangerous jobs – often employed by companies who exploit labor and cut corners on safety.

Years before the worker was killed at Waste Management’s Philadelphia facility on March 1, reports of hazardous conditions were being received by the Philadelphia Project on Occupational Safety and Health (PhilaPOSH).  The complaints included workers getting sick on the job, suffering from poor ventilation, dust, dizziness, fainting – and even coughing up blood.

These conditions happen when employers cut corners on safety to deal with materials arriving in recycling bins that include syringes, toxic chemicals, animal carcasses, human waste and other filth.  A 2015 study by public health experts, “Sustainable and Safe Recycling,” found that recycling workers are injured more than twice as much as other industrial workers. The findings also noted that fifteen recycling workers were killed on the job between 2011 and 2013.

The only way for workers to protect themselves is through education and active health and safety programs that they can control.

At the Waste Management facility in Philadelphia, we learned that many workers were considered “temporary” and assigned by an agency called Centrix Staffing. To check the company’s approach to safety, we asked a Spanish-speaking colleague to apply for work there. He was shown a short training video – in English – then deemed ready for work, with no hands-on instruction and no evidence that he understood any of the material presented to him.

The incident was captured on film in the an excellent documentary, “A Day’s Work,” which details the hazards – including death – facing workers in America’s growing “temp” industry.

Something similar happened to ACI workers who were also being hired as temps by an outside agency until 16 months ago.  Things changed at ACI because workers asked the Longshore Union to help them organize a campaign to improve conditions. The effort included legal action to enforce living wage laws. Workers attended classes on their own time to learn about safety and rights on the job through trainings provided by the University of California’s Labor Occupational and Health Program. Help from the Coalition for Sustainable Recycling mobilized dozens of groups to support the effort, including Worksafe!  Local churches, immigrant rights organizations and environmental groups contacted elected officials in the communities where ACI had recycling contracts.

ACI responded in a positive way to this growing pressure. The company dropped the temp agency and made the workers real employees. In October of 2014, ACI’s recycling workers formally voted to join ILWU. Instead of fighting the outcome, ACI management negotiated a fair agreement with a committee elected by workers.

The results have transformed pay and working conditions at ACI and lifted families out of poverty. Previous wages of $8 an hour will reach over $20 an hour by July 2019. Workers now earn sick pay, vacations, holidays and health insurance for their families. And safety has improved dramatically, thanks to an active health and safety committee that meets every three months – and includes a strong voice from workers.

The remarkable story of progress at ACI proves there is a clear path to reduce injuries on the job and prevent future tragedies:  listen to workers; respect their right to organize; and support smart, effective labor-management cooperation.

The people who handle our recyclables ultimately work for us.  So let’s treat them with the dignity and respect that they deserve.

Gail Bateson & Barbara Rahke

Gail Bateson is executive director at WorkSafe, an Oakland-based group that supported ILWU recycling workers through the Sustainable Recycling Coalition.  Barbara Rahke is executive director of PhilaPOSH and board chair of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health.


Categories: Unions

Longshoreman & wife support their community, family – and son who played in the Super Bowl

ILWU - Tue, 03/29/2016 - 11:38

Regan Keo is a respected member of Local 19 who has worked on Seattle’s waterfront for decades. But his profile increased dramatically earlier this year when word spread that his son, Shiloh, was playing for the Denver Broncos and heading for Super Bowl 50.

“There was a lot of buzz and excitement from so many of us who were proud of Regan, his family and his son,” said Local 19 President Rich Austin, Jr.

27 years of coaching

While he’s invested decades on the docks, Regan’s true passion revolves around his devotion to coaching and mentoring young athletes.

“We’ve been coaching for 27 years now,” said Regan, who uses the word “we” intentionally to acknowledge the important role played by his wife and partner, Diana, who is an integral part of their successful and unique coaching effort. “We’re a team that does it all together,” he says, “I’m the offensive coach, and she’s the defensive coach.” The couple coaches football and softball – both fast and slow-pitch.

Philosophy of fun

The young people they mentor range in age from 7 to 14 and all of them receive the same message from Regan and Diana who believe that strong teams are built on a coaching philosophy that boils down to three words: “firm but fun!” The couple says that approach is one reason they always have an after-game BBQs for the players and their families – whether the team wins or loses. “We always try to have fun out there, and think of ourselves more as teachers than coaches,” adds Diana. “These kids are young and so open to ideas – they just sponge-up new concepts.”

Respecting women

One of the concepts they try to get across is respect for girls and women. The young men being taught by this veteran female defensive expert are getting more than just a novel coaching experience and valuable field strategy. The couple hopes to provide an example with lifetime impact. “We hope it teaches them to respect women and understand they can go beyond what they think is ‘normal,’,” says Regan.

Big family at home

In addition to teaching and mentoring dozens of children on the field each season, the Keo’s have kept busy over the years raising their family of seven children. Their kids all played sports at a young age, and one – Shiloh – showed some special talent at a very early age. “We both saw that he had something special when he was just seven years old,” said Regan. “We could see that he had a chance to go very far.” But the couple remained sober about what the future might hold, providing sound advice to Shiloh, their other children – and every child they’ve coached during the past 27 years.

Realistic advice

“We’ve done this long enough to be able to tell kids that it will be hard, especially if you spend time away from your family – if you’re lucky enough to play at college,” says Regan. “We tell them to focus on their school work, and not just party – because very few of them will be able to make a living by being an athlete.”

Beating the odds

Because their son Shiloh showed remarkable speed and agility at a young age, his parents tried to prepare him for the trials and tribulations that face a promising pro athlete.

In Shilo’s case, his career began when his exceptional high school performance led to being recruited by the University of Idaho in 2006 where he made 72 tackles his freshman year and was voted MVP the next. After recovering from an injury in his junior year, he finished his senior year with another MVP award and set several college records.

Entering the NFL

Shiloh beat the odds facing most college players when he was drafted by the Houston Texans in 2011 where he made some key plays, became a team captain in 2012, and moved up to become starting safety in late 2013. Then an injury in 2014 caused him to be cut from the team. After recovering, he was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals in early 2015 – but then released later that same year.

Super Bowl bound

At the end of 2015, Denver signed Shiloh, who jumped into the last regular season game on January 3, making an interception that led to a winning touchdown. Then it was on to the AFC Championship against the Patriots on Jan 24 where he recovered an onside kick attempt by New England with 12 seconds remaining in the game, protecting Denver’s 20-18 win that sent the Broncos to Super Bowl 50.

Big challenges

Regan and Diana know that Shiloh still faces an uphill fight for job security in one of America’s most insecure and hazardous professions where the pay can be staggering, but most careers are shockingly brief – typically just over three years according to the Players Association union. And players also face the prospect of bankruptcy and financial ruin when they leave the game at a staggering rate of 78%, according to a recent Sports Illustrated study.

Dad remains his coach Shiloh ties to be reflective as he maneuvers his way through the obstacle course of professional sports. Many of the pros have to struggle on their own without support from two parents. Shiloh’s one of the lucky ones with a mother and father who continue to provide their son with rock solid support – something he recognizes and appreciates.

“He’s still my coach today,” says Shiloh about his father. “I come from a very big family. We have a lot of men in the family. We all grew up playing football. Everything I learned I started off learning from my family and learning from my dad.

“Once I was able to start playing, my dad was my coach until I got to high school, and it didn’t stop,” he said, explaining that the support continued when he moved away to college.

“I thought there would be no more dad coaching me. But it never stops. He’ll always be there for me, and he’ll always give me tips when he thinks I need some. He’s always there to support me. I can’t thank him enough.”

Life moves ahead

Regan Keo and his wife have no intention of ending the support for their son, the rest of their family – or the thousands of kids they’ve taught and mentored over nearly three decades.

“My longshore job was flexible enough to let us coach together all these years,” says Regan. “At some point, I’ll retire, but the coaching will continue, and we’ll keep helping these kids every second that they’re on the field, so we can help them go as far as possible in life.”

Categories: Unions

HC&S sugar plantation in Hawaii to close

ILWU - Tue, 03/29/2016 - 11:00

Social Services Coordinator Joanne Kealoha (right) going over the packet and information
to be passed out at the open house meeting on January 15, 2016. This was the first of two meetings to meet the members and pass out information on the services
and programs that are available to help the workers in the transition and how to best
survive the layoff (l-r): Local Executive Board Member Ester Manibog, Gordon Martins,
Unit Chair Daniel Martinez, and Business Agent Joe Aquino.

PUUNENE, Maui – At its peak, sugar was the number one industry in Hawaii with hundreds of thousands of acres under cultivation on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and Hawaii island.

By 2015, only Maui’s Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company (HC&S) remained of the industry once called “king,” and by the end of 2016 that last plantation will grind to a halt, ending commercialized sugar in the state.

Shut-down announced affecting 650 ILWU members

“The day began like any other day,” recalled Charles Andrion, a third-generation sugar worker at HC&S. “It was the first week of the year and the beginning of the off season, when repairs and refitting of equipment are done. It was business as usual, and hopes were high that the harvest season would start soon.” Just after noon, a company town hall meeting at 1:00 p.m. was announced. Under overcast skies,

HC&S workers were given a packet with a letter stating that the company would be phasing out of sugar after the current crop is harvested at the end of the year. The shutdown will affect more than 650 ILWU members.

Citing operating losses of $30 million in 2015 and a forecast of continued losses in the future, the company said that it will stop planting in early March, and as many as 90 field workers will lose their jobs. The rest of the workers will lose their jobs throughout the year as their specific responsibilities are completed.

Workers and their families face uncertainty

Andrion has worked as an Instrument Technician since he was accepted into HC&S’s apprenticeship program after graduating from college nine years ago. His grandfather was one of the sakadas who were recruited from the Philippines to work on the plantation in 1946. His grandparents and parents were able to provide for their families with the wages and benefits they received, which were negotiated by the ILWU. Andrion was stunned by the unforeseen announcement by Alexander & Baldwin (A&B), the parent company of HC&S.

During a family discussion at the dinner table the day before the announcement, Andrion’s four-year-old pre-schooler asked if they could sign her up for gymnastic class. “I told her yes, but after the announcement was made, we are not sure if we can afford the tuition,” said Andrion.

Disappointment in the decision to close

Esther Manibog’s father was also a sakada. He met the woman of his dreams who was working in the power plant and married her and put down roots in Maui. In 1986, Esther began working in the field like her father. After several years, she was accepted into the apprenticeship program and earned certifications to be an electrician. Manibog considered applying for jobs outside of HC&S but didn’t because the ILWU negotiated wages and benefits provided her enough to pay the mortgage and Manibog expressed her disappointment regarding A&B’s decision to shut down the operation. She described how the union—Local, Maui Division, and HC&S unit officers—mobilized her fellow HC&S workers and their families and worked hard to educate the community on the economic benefits and the jobs that HC&S provided.

“We provided testimony in opposition to the proposed reductions of water from East Maui because of the concerns over the economic impacts that the reduced water would have on the plantation and jobs, Esther said.

A lawsuit seeking to end all agricultural burning was filed by the “Stop Cane Burning group” against HC&S last July. “Through a coordinated effort, by the union, we gathered more than 6,000 signatures on a petition supporting the current Agricultural Burning Permit and delivered it to the Department of Health.” Manibog said, “Despite all these efforts, A&B made the decision to close.”

An Injury to One is an Injury to All

With the first layoff period fast approaching, the union again mobilized— this time to help the affected workers in transitioning into new jobs and to deal with the hardships that they will face. A survey was sent out to the workers immediately after the announcement was made. The survey allows the union to gather information on the affected worker’s needs so that the appropriate resources are provided by the company as well as federal, state and county governments. The workers also updated their contact information to ensure that the union can provide additional information or assistance when needed.

Two open house meetings were held at the ILWU Hall in Wailuku on January 15-16, 2016, to meet the workers face-to-face and to answer any questions that they may have. Assistance in completing the survey was available. English and Ilocano speaking members were on hand to make certain that everyone understood what services and programs are available to help them with the transition and layoff. Help will also be provided to laid-off workers applying for unemployment benefits.

Effects bargaining to begin

Because HC&S workers are covered by an ILWU contract, the company has a duty to bargain with the ILWU over the effects of the closure on workers. This is called effects bargaining.

Some of the issues that will be discussed are severance pay, payout of unused vacation and sick leave, seniority, retirement benefits, and medical and dental insurance. The union has asked to begin effects bargaining with HC&S as quickly as possible. “We will be working hard to assure that the workers receive the full benefit of their contract and what they are entitled to by federal and state law,” said ILWU President and negotiating committee spokesperson Donna Domingo.

Severance pay and medical coverage

Severance pay is usually based on the length of employment with a company and is not required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). However, the ILWU negotiated contract with HC&S includes severance as a benefit and specifies that it will be paid out on the basis of nine days’ pay for each year of service for all eligible workers. No union dues are deducted from severance pay.

The union negotiating committee’s goal is to increase the severance benefit to help laid-off workers pay for housing and other expenses—a concern for many HC&S ILWU members. Mariano Oliveros, who emigrated from the Philippines seven years ago, got his first full-time job as a drip irrigation hookup and repair worker. “My family is living comfortably because the plantation provided me with a stable income. I’m in my fifties, too old to find another job easily. How am I going to pay for my medical coverage and mortgage without a job?” said Oliveros. Another area that the union negotiating committee will be working on is the severance payout timeframe.

Workers at other companies have waited up to 14 months after the closure to receive their severance pay. The union negotiating committee will do its best to insure that the severance is paid out in a timely manner.

The union negotiating committee will also be fighting to extend the period during which laid-off workers receive medical coverage. “I’m having a hard time sleeping because I’m worried about how I’m going to pay for my daughter’s and my medical,” said Manibog, with tears in her eyes.

An era ends, but the impact of sugar workers remain

Sugar plantations once stretched the length of the island chain—from Kekaha to Kau. Hundreds of thousands of workers and even family were brought to Hawaii from as far away as the Azores and Puerto Rico and China, Korea, Japan and the Philippines to work the fields. Plantation communities were the foundation of Hawaii’s multi-ethic culture and values.

In 1946, 30,000 sugar workers plus their families went on strike to begin a long battle for a better life. Their struggle—along with their fellow workers in other industries in the ILWU—reshaped Hawaii, building power for workers and their families and achieving a large measure of economic, social and political justice.

The era in which ILWU sugar workers shaped the history of Hawaii has passed, but the impact of sugar, its workers, and the workers’ union remains. “The workers should take pride in the fact that they did everything they could to keep HC&S going, and that they were able to rally their community in support of Hawaii’s last sugar plantation,” said ILWU Secretary-Treasurer Guy Fujimura.

“I see them as heroes of the ILWU.” Charles Andrion summed up his feelings on the bittersweet ending of HC&S. “It feels like my grandparents put the first cane stalk into the ground and I will be taking the last cane stalk out of the ground,” he said. “But we’ll find a way to move forward.”

Categories: Unions

ILWU Canada leadership course trains new leaders

ILWU - Tue, 03/29/2016 - 09:52

The ILWU Canada Leadership Course held on February 14-19 at Harrison Hot Springs in British Columbia, was a tremendous success. Our class was bursting at the seams with 26 participants who attended from ILWU Canada Locals 502, 505, 508, 514, 517, Grain Workers Union Local 333 and the Retail Wholesale Union of British Columbia.

Participants were taught skills that included: working together as a team, public speaking, how to run a meeting, political action, how to challenge bullying and harassment, arbitrations, ethics and the function of a union.

Joining our local participants were special guest speakers that included: ILWU International President Bob McEllrath, International Secretary Treasurer Willie Adams, ILWU Canada President Emeritus Tom Dufresne, and Jim Sinclair, our past President of the British Columbia Federation of Labour.

I was personally happy to see three members from Grain Workers Union Local 333, a new local to ILWU Canada, being welcomed by everyone in a great showing of solidarity.

The expressions of solidarity that took place during the meetings and throughout the entire Leadership Course by the Brothers and Sisters made me proud to be a part of this great union.

Given the number and size of our last two training conferences,

ILWU Canada will consider holding two of these events in 2017, in order to accommodate the education needs of our members. Giving these Brothers and Sisters the skills they need to stand up and help lead our great union will ensure that our future will be a positive one.

In Solidarity,
Steve Nasby
2nd Vice President, ILWU Canada

Categories: Unions

ILWU endorses Senator Bernie Sanders for President

ILWU - Thu, 03/24/2016 - 11:20

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The ILWU’s International Executive Board voted today to endorse U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders for President.

“Bernie Sanders is the best candidate for America’s working families,” said ILWU International President Robert McEllrath. “Bernie is best on the issues that matter most to American workers:  better trade agreements, support for unions, fair wages, tuition for students and public colleges, Medicare for all, fighting a corrupt campaign finance system and confronting the power of Wall Street that’s making life harder for most Americans.”

Many longshore union members have expressed enthusiastic support for Sanders at the local level.

The ILWU represents approximately 50,000 women and men who work in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii – in addition to ILWU Divisions representing workers in Canada and Panama.

Categories: Unions

Wobbles 2016-4

IWW - Wed, 03/23/2016 - 18:11

Compiled by x344543 - March 23, 2016

The following news items may be of interest to revolutionary industrial workers:

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Categories: Unions

Why the IBU National Convention Endorsed Bernie Sanders

IBU - Wed, 03/23/2016 - 10:03
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Categories: Unions

IBU CRR Facebook Page!!

IBU - Sun, 03/13/2016 - 15:25
Our region now has a facebook page.  Please check it out and join.
Categories: Unions


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